Is God happy with baseball? As usual for a fan, I fear plagues

June 26, 2017


Image result for jacob degrom looking in

Jason deGrom

Let’s pause. Let’s ponder the truly important. Let’s think about our nation’s pastime and why we’re seeing strong evidence of divine displeasure.

First, it’s obvious: God designed baseball so starting pitchers would complete their games unless they absolutely need relief. Evidence: Saturday’s nail-biter pitting the New York Mets vs. the San Francisco Giants. Jason deGrom and Johnny Cueto pitched a fine 1-1 duel until the 7th, after which the Giants’ management violated the Almighty’s will and yielded to popular trends. It replaced Cueto. God smote the Giants. Its bull pen supplied high schoolers and the Mets ran away with the game.

This trend of ruinous relievers — coupled with that invasion from Hell in the American League called the DH — conjures fears of more wrath to come.

Which brings us to the second spark igniting God’s anger. Pa-lease escort all children from the room as I mention the unmentionable: The Designated Hitter.

Image result for johnny cueto giants
Johnny Cueto

Does anyone remember Dodger sidewinding-ace Don Drysdale, who hit .300 one year in addition to his role as the second of the team’s famous one-two punch with Sandy Koufax? How about Claude Osteen? Perhaps the ’60s and ’70s reel most back to the Dark Ages, so just look at Jacob deGrom again. He walked up to the plate with a .290 batting average and slapped a single — roughly a week after he slugged a home run.

That can’t happen in the American League, where few bunt and fewer attempt a stolen base. Most batters lumber to the plate like the Jolly Green Giant with a beer belly. They run as fast as fast as snails.

Clearly, God is not happy.

The third reason illuminates how far the game has slid down the slippery slope: Pitchers

Image result for fat baseball batter cartoon

Average batter in the American League

now display little wind-up. They merely lift their foot as if they made an errant step in a pig sty. Whuh? Remember how Koufax reared up and unleashed himself like a human rubber band? Or how about Luis Tiant turning his back on home plate? Or how about the king of them all: The Giants’ Juan Marichal? He’d kick up at a 90-degree angle before throwing a bevy of pin-point pitches, using the wind-up to conceal the pitch. He also employed the time-honored method honed by many pitchers in the days of yore: He’d occasionally aim his fastball directly at the batter’s head — which God, apparently, tolerated. Cardinals’ ace Bob Gibson did the same thing.

Some things are theological mysteries.

Marichal, incidentally, won the greatest game ever pitched against Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves on July 2, 1963. Both lasted all sixteen innings. Willie Mays homered and the Giants won 1-0.

The point: There’s more to pitching than burning in fast-balls at 98 miles an hour at a game’s close for a single inning.

Samples of how the game should be played:

Marichal’s windup:


Lou  Brock steals a base:


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About Charles Redfern

Charles Redfern is a writer, activist, and clergyman living in Connecticut with his wife and family. He's currently writing two books, with more in his head.

View all posts by Charles Redfern


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